Category Archives: Articles

Aramaic Traces through Coins in the Iranian World

Šafiʿī, Ibrahim. 2018. Aramaic Traces through Coins in the Iranian World. Shodoznavstvo 82: 125–166.

Aramaic language(s) in its four phases with different scripts on various materials have been found in Iran (mostly from the western part of the land where Aramaic-speaking communities lived). Aramaic language traces in the Iranian world have remained in a large diversity on the coins. Besides some reigns whose coins bear Aramaic phrases, some others just minted coins with Aramaic derived legends and/or used ideograms on their coins. Almost from 3th BC to 10th centuries AD Aramaic words with Aramaic, Pah-lavi, Parthian, Sogdian and Chorasmian legends used as ideograms in the coinage. Due to producing ideograms, it is impossible to read the original pronunciation of the words but this heritage can introduce а concept of a larger Aramaic presence in the Iranian world.
The earliest type of ideograms on the coins can be found on Fratarkā’s coinage in the Pārs province roughly from 3th BC and the latest belongs to Būyids’ amir of the 10th century, Rokn al-Dawla, who ruled in Rayy (al-Muḥammadiya). During this period, circa 1300 years, some dynasties struck their own coins with ideograms in a large territory from the Middle East to Transoxania and another one also used these coins in their daily deals as a currency.

Calendar as an Identity Marker of the Zoroastrian Community in Iran

Niechciał, Pauline. 2019. Calendar as an Identity Marker of the Zoroastrian Community in Iran. Iran and the Caucasus 23 (1): 35-49.

The article reflects on the idea of both calendric time and its material supports used by the Zoroastrians of Iran in reference to the identity of the group. The qualitative analysis of the data collected during the fieldwork among the Zoroastrian community has shown that a distinctive time-reckoning system plays the role of an important marker that strengthens the community’s Zoroastrian identity in the face of Muslim domination. In the post-Revolutionary Iran, the calendar is one of the key pillars of the Zoroastrians’ collective self-awareness—both as an idea of a specific time-reckoning system designating ritual activities, and as a material subject that acts as a medium to promote specific values and ideas.

Sāsānian, Central Asian and Byzantine Iconography

Overlaet, Bruno. 2018. Sāsānian, Central Asian and Byzantine Iconography – Patterned Silks and Cross-culturaL Exchange. In Birgit Bühler & Viktor Freiberger (eds.), Der Goldschatz von Sânnicolau Mare. Regensburg: Schnell & Steiner.

Archery in Achaemenid and Parthian Kingships

Panaino, Antonio. 2019. Symbolic and Ideological Implications of Archery in Achaemenid and Parthian Kingships. In Federicomaria Muccioli, Alessandro Cristofori & Alice Bencivenni (eds.), Philobiblos: scritti in onore di Giovanni Geraci, 19–66. Roma: Jouvence.

Achaemenid Royal Archers, Coloured glazed terracotta brick panels, Susa, around 510 BC

The present study is a fruit of a larger investigation dedicated to the ideological meaning of archery in Iran in the light of other Eastern civilizations, but also in the framework of the ancient Indo-Iranian epos. This investigation brought to light a number of historical problems.

An Inscription of Darius I from Phanagoria

Shavarebi, Ehsan. 2019. An Inscription of Darius I from Phanagoria (DFa): Preliminary report of a work in progress. Arta 2019. 005.

The present paper is a preliminary study of an Achaemenid fragmentary inscription recently discovered from Phanagoria, southwestern Russia. After a brief introduction to the discovery of the inscription, the preserved Old Persian text will be analysed and reconstructed.

L’ère kouchane des documents bactriens

De la Vaissière, Étienne. 2018. L’ère kouchane des documents bactriens. Journal Asiatique 306(2). 281–284.

A new Achaemenid building-complex in Kerman

Atayi, Mohammad and Shahram Zare. 2019. A new Achaemenid building-complex in Kerman. Evidence from Mahdiābād-e Oliā. ARTA 2019. 003.

The present note provides a general overview of the site of Mahdiābād-e Oliā, 250 km SE of the city of Kerman, discussing objects exposed by the flood in 2017 as well as its architectural remains, with special attention to a complex that includes a square structure, inviting comparison with Achaemenid palaces.

The Chronology of and Sources for Egypt’s Second Revolt (ca. 487-484 BC)

Wijnsma, Uzume. 2019. “And in the fourth year Egypt rebelled …” The Chronology of and Sources for Egypt’s Second Revolt (ca. 487-484 BC),” Journal of Ancient History 7 (1): 32-61.

Scholars continue to give different dates for Egypt’s second revolt against the Persians: Classicists generally date the revolt to 487-485 or 487/ 486-485/484 BC; Egyptologists and historians of the Achaemenid Empire generally date it to 486-485/484; while some scholars date it to 486/485-485/484. Such chronological differences may sound small, but they have important consequences for the way the rebellion is understood. The purpose of the present article is therefore twofold: first, it aims to clarify what we can and cannot know about the rebellion’s exact chronology. After a review of the relevant evidence, it will be argued that the best chronological framework for the rebellion remains the one provided by Herodotus’s Histories, which places the rebellion in ca. 487-484. Second , the article will show how this chronology influences our understanding of the geographical extent and social impact of the rebellion. The adoption of Herodotus’s chronological framework, for example, results in a larger number of Egyptian sources that can be connected to the period of revolt than was previously recognized. These sources, it will be argued, suggest that some people in the country remained loyal to the Persian regime while others were already fighting against it. Moreover, they indicate that the revolt reached Upper Egypt and that it may have affected the important city of Thebes.

Transition of Classification Patterns of Ancient Iran History in Qajar Era

Ordou, Reza. 2018. Transition of classification patterns of ancient Iran history in Qajar era. Historical Perspective & Historiography 21: 7-31.

Qajar era was a period which academic historical researches translated from European languages to Persian and archaeological excavations in Iran besides deciphering ancient inscriptions by European orientalists and Iranologists took place. Confronting these excavations and texts made Iranian historians and also Iranians – who had epic perception from their ancient history – to have contradictory feelings about their past. This article tries to answer this question that how historians in Qajar era managed to solve these incompatible narratives. For this purpose, historical texts about ancient Iran, which have been written or translated in Qajar era, have been scrutinized. This article shows that in early Qajar era epic viewpoint about ancient Iran history was totally dominant so that historians would rather ignore factual history, provided by excavations and inscriptions, or interpret them in epic context. By expanding historical researches, factual history of ancient Iran gradually became an authentic narrative beside epic one and historians tried to connect these narratives in order to solve the duality. Eventually in later Qajar era, epic narrative considered fictional and the history, based on archaeological excavations and ancient texts, became valid.

In original:

اردو، رضا. 1397. تحول الگوهای تقسیم‌بندی تاریخ ایران باستان در عصر قاجار. تاریخ‌نگری و تاریخ‌نگاری 21: 7-31

The Achaemenid Messenger System and the Ionian Revolt

Hyland, John. 2019. The Achaemenid Messenger System and the Ionian Revolt: New Evidence from the Persepolis Fortification Archive. Historia 68(2), 150-169.

The express messenger (pirradaziš) system attested in the Persepolis Fortification Archives played a crucial role in Achaemenid Persia’s control of a widespread provincial administrative system.  Its potential relevance for Persian military operations is illustrated by a series of tablets, some previously unpublished, recording multiple messengers’ journeys between the court of Darius I and his brother Artaphernes at Sardis in 495-494 BCE.  The timing and locations of their travel suggest a connection with the Persian offensive against Miletos and the suppression of the Ionian Revolt.